Search under way for plane missing following Fly-In

Herald staff

ARLINGTON – A search was under way Monday for a single-engine plane reported missing with three Spokane retirees aboard following the annual Arlington Fly-In air show, authorities said.

The three men left the air show, which draws pilots of experimental and other small planes from around the country, on Saturday afternoon, said Karl Moore, search and rescue coordinator for the Aeronautics Division of the state Department of Transportation.

No one apparently was waiting for the men on Saturday back in Spokane, but their relatives contacted authorities on Monday after they found none of the three at home Sunday or Monday, Moore said.

The men’s names were not released.

Moore said one plane searched for the men’s Cessna 180 on Monday, and as many as a dozen volunteers flying with Civil Air Patrol and Washington Air Search and Rescue units would be out Tuesday.

The men may still be safe, Moore said.

"We spent the day on the phone today trying to contact friends and relatives and all other probable areas that they may have gone for a side trip. There is a good possibility they may have gone to some other state or somewhere to visit some friends," he said, noting that none of the three had jobs or apparent strict schedules to keep.

The search was scheduled to begin from Arlington and move east, Moore said.

OLYMPIA

Tardy measure short on signatures: As it turns out, the group that missed Friday’s deadline to submit ballot petitions needed more than an extra four minutes. Supporters of Initiative 717, which sought to eliminate the state portion of the property tax, said they probably will resubmit the measure as an initiative to the Legislature, which would give them another six months to come up with more than 180,000 signatures. Campaign leaders had howled Friday when they missed the 5 p.m. deadline to submit petitions to Secretary of State Ralph Munro. Campaign manager Tim Nank arrived at 5:04 p.m. and banged on the door, which Munro had closed and locked. But a review conducted Monday showed the measure was at least 14,000 signatures short. Measures need the signatures of 179,248 registered voters to qualify for the November ballot, but state elections officials recommend collecting in excess of 200,000 to protect against duplication and fraud. The campaign submitted 193,000 signatures, but only about 165,000 were deemed valid.

NEWPORT

Man killed in shootout with deputy: A man who flagged down a Pend Oreille County sheriff’s deputy on a remote highway was killed and the deputy wounded Monday when shots were exchanged, officials said. The 53-year-old Ione man apparently asked for help because his wife, a passenger in their pickup, had been experiencing some type of a medical problem, Sheriff Jerry Weeks said. While the deputy checked on the woman, he noticed the driver appeared drunk, Weeks said. The woman’s condition did not seem immediately life-threatening, so the deputy conducted a roadside test to determine whether the driver was drunk, Weeks said. That’s when at least 10 shots were exchanged, including four that pierced the windshield of the deputy’s cruiser, the sheriff said. The pickup’s driver, whose name was not released, died at the scene 14 miles north of Cusick on Highway 20. Deputy Frank Beatty was flown by medical helicopter to Deaconess Medical Center in Spokane, where he was in stable condition with a gunshot wound to the left shoulder, the sheriff’s department said.

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